I Want My Daughter to Become Wonder Woman and Not a Disney Princess

Me, circa 1986 on the day my parents dropped me off at college.

Now that my daughter is away at college, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my own days back in school. At the time, I started UMASS when I was only 16 years old. I had a serious boyfriend and my ultimate dream was to pursue musical theater and become a star on Broadway. I had performed since age two in talent shows, original productions and musicals and there was just something about performing that made me light up. At the time, I thought it was my calling but when I started to face rejection, I decided I wasn’t good enough and veered off in another direction.

Another reason why I didn’t go for it or even try out for Summer Stock during those years was because I had a serious boyfriend. We had met when I was in high school and he actually fell for me because he saw me perform on stage. We met my junior year, broke up for several months when I was a senior and got back together right before I went back to college.

I spent the next four years pining for that boyfriend. Spoke to him nearly every night on the phone, costing myself hundreds of dollars a month in phone bills which I paid myself after getting a part time job. I even decided to pursue a 15 credit internship at home in New York City just so I could be with him and not away at school. That internship eventually led to my first job in PR and my career veered off in a direction I never expected or wanted to pursue.

By the time I graduated college and decided to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at NYU, that serious boyfriend decided he couldn’t move forward with the relationship and broke up with me. To say I was devastated was an understatement. I couldn’t believe I had spent four years of my life dedicating myself to him – when he became jealous of my role in a musical theater performance of “Grease,” I decided to stop auditioning for those on campus shows. I made life choices at that critical time in my life because I thought he was “The One.” But guess what, he wasn’t and honestly, I’m really lucky that we didn’t wind up together – especially since he said he never wanted his wife to work and expected her to watch his kids while he worked. The woman he did marry, who happened to be a lawyer when they met, quit her job when they had kids. So I guess he wasn’t lying when he shared his philosophy on where a woman belongs once you start having kids.

When my daughter started dating someone in her senior year who was a close friend, I was happy for her but deep down, I wanted to ensure that when she started college, they would break up and remain friends. She did agree with me and while it was hard and at times devastating to break off the relationship, she did it and is now on her own at college. While I have no idea whether she will meet someone while she’s there or find her true love after she graduates, I’m so happy that she is being given the chance to live her life on her terms without anyone second guessing her intelligence, her talents or her decisions. College is difficult enough without throwing in a relationship with someone who may not share your ultimate goals. The ideal partner in life will build you up, support you, shower you with love, laughter and will make you feel secure. I was lucky enough to find that person and together we have supported one another as we’ve pursued our ultimate goals.

While I never did go back to going after that long ago Broadway dream, I have had the chance to perform from time to time and know that at some point in my life, I’ll be doing it again. For now, I’m focused on ensuring my kids are set up for success – giving them the chance to figure out what makes them tick and what makes them happy so they can ultimately pursue what they love no matter what that might be. Don’t get me wrong – having a boyfriend or a girlfriend is great – but so does becoming the person you’re destined to be. Do I hope she gets to live happily ever after like every fairytale we’ve ever read together? Of course, but first I want her to be Wonder Woman – be fierce, take on the world and make her mark.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. Love will come when the time is right, but find yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

College Road Trip…The Official Freshman Drop Off with Ford

It’s been eight days since we officially dropped our daughter off at college and as a Freshman parent newbie, I have to say, there are definitely things I would do differently after seeing other kids arrive with their parents.  As our daughter was packing for school and I was busy shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Harmon and Home Goods, the pile of items we were planning to transport to Philadelphia was enormous.  So much so that we quickly realized there was no way we were going to able to fit everything into our small SUV.

But thanks to Ford, which had generously offered me the chance to try out their 2018 Ford Explorer, we managed to fit everything into their SUV.  The 7 seater white SUV which was tricked out with tons of technology and a dual sunroof, arrived the afternoon before we hit the road – giving us the chance to start putting all of our daughter’s belongings into the trunk as if it was an elaborate puzzle. What I really loved about the car was that the third row folds under electronically – expanding the size of the trunk which also opens and closes with the press of a button. We managed to fit all of her clothes which had been stuffed in huge duffel bags that we had previously used for sleep-away camp.  I had also read on the popular college parents blog Grown & Flown that I should buy large plastic Ikea bags to pack more of her things in the car so I of course bought about 6 bags and stuffed as much as I could inside.  Take a look…

Thankfully, the SUV had a back up camera so even though we couldn’t see out the back window, we were safe because we were able to see what was behind us.  I also loved that the car beeps if you are too close to a car next to you — which totally helps when you’re parking. Another favorite tech option is a light that appears on the side view mirrors which warns you not to change lanes if a car is too close to you. And if you’ve been driving too long, it will ask prompt you with a message to consider taking a break!

While I couldn’t see my family as we drove toward Philadelphia, I still managed to find some room for my legs in the comfy leather seats. One of my favorite options in the second row was the USB charger and plug that’s conveniently placed in the middle console. That came in handy when my son decided to finish his summer homework on the way back from a trip to the Hamptons later that weekend. But I digress…

 

We made it to Temple University and unloaded the SUV within 5 minutes and then my husband went to park the car so that we could load everything into the dorm and before we knew it, she was moved in.

Even though I think we moved half our house into her dorm room – which incidentally is nicer than most city apartments I’ve seen–they have a view of Philadelphia from their windows-I still found myself feverishly ordering more items that were shipped to her dorm from Amazon Prime Target, Dormify and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Lesson learned – you don’t necessarily have to take everything with you on the first day, thanks to modern technology, even if it arrives a few days later, it’s still totally fine.  Take a look at how her room looks now…it’s so awesome it was even featured on the Dormify Instagram page!

move in day done right 👌 // rg @beccadreww

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Once we drove back home, we took the Explorer for another road trip – this time a weekend visit to my parent’s house in the Hamptons and on this adventure, we brought our son and our dog Santana, who happens to love driving in the car with us. We made sure to put her dog bed on the floor and covered her seat with a blanket and she obediently took her seat and watched out the window until we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

 

From Philly to New Ro and now to Southampton. Road tripping with @Ford #FordExplorer and @santanafuentes

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Over the weekend, we managed to squeeze six of us in the car, visited a winery, hit the town of Southhampton for ice cream, shopped and before we knew we it, we were back on the road…

Since we have to turn our car back into the dealer within the next few months, I have to say, that I totally loved the Ford Explorer.  I may opt for an even smaller SUV but was so grateful to be able to take our daughter to college in one car!  Thanks so much to the team at Ford for your generosity…I am officially a Ford fan!

Disclosure:  The Ford Motor Company provided a Ford Explorer for our family to test drive for our college road trip and weekend adventure.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own!